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Light to moderate drinking linked to fewer heart problems in male bypass patients

Light to moderate alcohol consumption among male coronary artery bypass patients was associated with 25 percent fewer subsequent cardiovascular procedures, heart attacks, strokes and death compared to non-drinkers, in a study presented at the American Heart’s Association’s Scientific Sessions 2010. However, bypass patients with left ventricular dysfunction who were moderate to heavy drinkers (more than six drinks daily) were twice as likely to have subsequent cardiovascular deaths compared to non-drinkers.
“The benefit of light amounts of alcohol consumption has been documented in healthy individuals, but our analysis showed a benefit from light alcohol intake in post-coronary bypass patients,” said Umberto Benedetto, M.D., Ph.D. at the University of Rome La Sapienza in Italy. “However, our analysis indicated that alcohol consumption is not advisable in patients with left ventricular dysfunction and heart failure. No adverse correlation was found between moderate alcohol consumption and any medication.”
Light to moderate alcohol consumption was defined as 5-30 grams of alcohol daily; moderate to heavy was defined as more than 60 grams daily.
Researchers used a standard questionnaire to compare alcohol consumption in 1,021 patients who underwent heart bypass and reviewed subsequent bypass procedures, heart attacks, strokes and cardiac deaths during the following 3.5 years.
Patients consuming about two drinks daily had fewer cardiovascular events when compared to abstainers. Moreover, moderate to heavy alcohol consumption (about four drinks daily) by patients with left ventricular problems was associated with significantly greater risk of dying.
Results of the study need to be confirmed over a longer follow-up period, with more patients and controls, Benedetto said.
Abstract 14440: Light to moderate drinking linked to fewer heart problems in male bypass patients Giovanni Melina, M.D., Ph.D.; Davide Sansone, M.D.; Roberta Di Bartolomeo, M.D.; Emiliano Angeloni, M.D.; Simone Refice, M.D.; Ivan Stigliano, M.D.; Antonino Roscitano, M.D.; Tommaso Hinna Danesi, M.D.; and Riccardo Sinatra, M.D. Health & Medicine Nov 2010

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